Cole Hamels has sat for a zillion interviews and has been asked a zillion questions about the possibility of being traded mid-season, and he has totally avoided any hint of controversy in his answers. Not an easy trick given how delicate the politics of trades and free agency and all of that is. One “Oh, I’d love to play for the Dodgers” could turn into a little arglebargle that no on ever wants, but he’s avoided it.
So of course the first time Jonathan Papelbon is asked about such a thing he says something he probably shouldn’t have said to CSNPhilly.com’s Jim Salisbury:
Papelbon was asked how the Phillies’ clubhouse would react if Hamels was traded.
“I don’t know,” he said, at first pondering the question. “That’s hard to say. I definitely don’t think we should [trade him]. I don’t think he’s trying to jump ship by any means.
“I don’t necessarily know if our clubhouse would take that too well.”
He immediately added that he knows it’s a business, but the fact that he even mentioned the clubhouse stuff isn’t going to help an already difficult season for Charlie Manule, Ruben Amaro and the Phillies any easier.
No, not like a Socratic dialogue, in which each side, in a mostly cooperative, but intellectually confrontational manner interrogate one another as a means of testing assertions and finding truths, though that would be an AMAZING thing for baseball players and teams to do. Rather, low-level talks about possible interest in Jake Arrieta, baseball free agent.
Arrieta is probably the top free agent still available, now that Yu Darvish, J.D. Martinez and Eric Hosmer have signed. Philly has money — it’s a big market — and could use a pitcher, but Jon Heyman, who, much like Plato did for Socrates, reported the dialogue, says they’re not looking to go long term with anyone.
It may make sense for Arrieta to take a so-called “pillow contract” and come back on the market in a year, but if he’s willing to accept a one-year deal, there are a lot of teams other than Philly who may offer one, and you’d have to figure Arrieta would prefer to pitch for a team more likely to contend.
Dialogues are cool, though. You should go have one over lunch.